Monday, August 19, 2019
Silkwoods Working Class :: Movie Film Essays
Silkwood's Working Class  Before I begin, I would like to provide some information about where I'm coming from as I look at Silkwood. When I chose this film, I did so in a somewhat desperate attempt to avoid working on a film about war or a biographic film on a male historical figure. Alas, these are the types of films that tend to dominate the historic genre. I turned to Silkwood not as a film about the nuclear industry or a murder mystery, but rather a film about a woman -- not a glamorous woman, but a real woman with flaws. I wouldn't have chosen this film for the nuclear issue alone, as it is before my time and, at least at the onset of the project, I had no real understanding of what the nuclear industry was all about.  Though it has been talked about as an anti-nuclear film, the nuclear theme is an underlying one. (A good question to ask is why this is NOT the main issue.) The way I look at Silkwood is the way many reviewers have; the central issue of this film is the story of the working class. I feel that I can comment legitimately on this issue, as the rural Pennsylvania town where I grew up is not too far from Silkwood's Oklahoma countryside (except geographically, of course). Some of the problems the Kerr-McGee workers have are familiar to me. For example, job security, especially now as I write, is of utmost importance in my home community. Like Crescent, Oklahoma, my community in Pennsylvania has one main industry, but it is at least a safe one: tool and die. As technology increases, these jobs are becoming obsolete, and, so, anyone in this trade in my hometown is lacking job security. And this in turn threatens other local businesses that depend on tool and die workers spen ding their money.  But back to Silkwood. As an historical film, it immortalizes an image of the working class in Crescent, Oklahoma, as well as Karen Silkwood, their representative. It is important to think about how the film treats the working class -- is the tone condescending, honest, or quaint? And how does Karen fit in as their spokeswoman?